British backpacker kidnapped in Australia on terrifying road trip

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A terrified British backpacker in Australia has been rescued after she texted her dad back in the UK for help when she found herself being driven off in a car with a man who thought he was an ‘alien’.

Unsuspecting Mary Kate Heys, 20, from Manchester, got into the vehicle with a Swedish traveller she met at a hostel in the Sunshine Coast agreeing to travel with him 70 miles south to Brisbane at around 4.30am yesterday (MON).
But about an hour into the drive it quickly became a road to hell when Queensland Police said the 22-year-old man told Mary Kate he wanted to drive them 900 miles north to Cairns.

Fearing for her safety Mary Kate began to realise the man was in a manic state and starting sending SOS texts to her dad Antony 10,000 miles away at around 7pm his time in the UK on Sunday in Manchester.

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According to the Courier Mail newspaper, Mary Kate texts went as follows: ‘Dad are you awake’.

Dad: ‘Yeah it’s only 7 at night x. Are you ok x.

Mary Kate: (Shares Google map of her location) I need you to call the Australian police. Do not ring me. And tell them I’m in a silver Peugeot. I’ve been taken by a man. I don’t think he’s dangerous. Please hurry.

Dad: ‘I’m trying to find the number’.

Mary Kate: ‘Don’t worry. I think I’ll be ok if your (sic) quick. He said he is taking me to Gaines. Caines. Are they coming. He thinks he’s an alien.

What followed according to the Courier Mail were a series of Google maps sent by Mary Kate before dad and the Queensland Police came to the rescue.

Mary Kate texted her dad she was ok after being found by police around three hours since her first text at around 8.30am local time.

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The car was intercepted by copes in Gympie around 60 miles north of the hostel where the pair had been staying.

Speaking today (TUES) about her ordeal Mary Kate said: “This has been incredibly difficult as so many people are asking why I didn’t escape.

“I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do. My dad came to the rescue but in reality it’s every dad’s worst nightmare.

“This whole experience has been completely overwhelming.

“I was planning on travelling around Australia for the next six to 12 months but all I want to do right now is go home and get a hug from my mum.

“I’m so shaken up and I haven’t even had a chance to even absorb what has happened just yet.”

A spokeswoman for Queensland Police said they found Mary Kate in the car as a passenger in Gympie, Queensland, around 60 miles north of where she had been staying.

She said: “The woman had planned to go to Brisbane but once she got in the car the man decided he was driving north to Cairns where she did not want to go.

“It was then that the woman texted her dad and he contacted us so we were able to locate the car in Gympie. The woman decided not to lay charges on the man.”

It’ understood the man – who has not been named – is being treated for mental health issues.

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